CBD For Allergy Symptoms [Can it Provide Relief?]
Most of us suffer from some kind of allergy. Usually, allergies are looked upon as an inconvenient ailment and nothing more. What you may not know is that allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the US.
According to the American College of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology, over 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year. When we see stats like these, it is no wonder people look all over the place for reliable treatments. One potential alternative treatment people are discussing is CBD oil .
CBD, really? Could CBD oil be a potential relief for allergy sufferers – especially those who get no relief from traditional medicines? In this article, we explore what CBD is and what (if any) roles it may play in the treatment of allergies.
What is an Allergy?
An allergy is our immune system’s negative response to a substance that is foreign to the body. The symptoms that come from an allergic reaction often range in severity and can include any of the following:
- Watery eyes
- Sniffling/runny nose
- Facial Pain
- Chest tightness or cough
- Swelling of lips, tongue, eyes or face
These are just a handful of the potential risks associated with allergies. But of course in some cases, if an allergy is incredibly severe, it can result in anaphylaxis and death.
What is even more shocking is that many allergies can lead to chronic conditions which become much more serious for the sufferer, such as:
- Autoimmune diseases
While there are plenty of over the counter and prescription medications on the market for all of these common allergies, research has suggested that CBD could be a more effective , and safe option!
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found within the cannabis plant. It is now the most researched of the lot, beating THC as the most sought-after compound for its ability to provide relief for a huge list of conditions:
- Crohn’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
While this list is impressive, it just a handful of the conditions researchers have targeted with CBD and other cannabinoids!
How Does CBD Work to Combat Symptoms of Allergies?
In our body, we have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is responsible for maintaining a level of balance throughout our body. This process is known as homeostasis and is the regulation of the body to maintain optimum health. The ECS releases natural cannabinoids which play a hand in regulating a whole host of things from appetite and mood to inflammation and pain!
When CBD is consumed, it works largely with the ECS to promote increased production of these healing cannabinoids! It is for this reason that CBD has proven to be so effective in such a wide range of conditions.
Along with our ECS, we also have cannabinoid receptors already built in! When we consume cannabis, the cannabinoids bind to receptors which can bring about different effects. Our CB1 and CB2 receptors are in charge of different things. For example, THC binds to our CB1 receptor, which is primarily located in the brain and is in charge of thoughts, feelings, memories – which is why we get high when we consume THC!
With CBD however, while it may bind to both receptors in very small amounts, its biggest work is throughout the body with both the ECS and other non-cannabinoid receptors and ion channels.
How Can CBD Work For Allergies?
Research has found that CBD can prevent mast cells from releasing histamines. Mast cells will produce histamines during inflammation or allergic reactions, which brings about the common symptoms that we all know and love such as sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, etc.
Not only this, but CBD is a well-known anti-inflammatory which can prove invaluable during an allergic reaction as it can reduce swelling and irritation in the sufferer and limit further histamine production.
CBD’s interaction with our ECS has even been shown to reduce almost all of the most common side effects associated with an allergic reaction in the following ways:
- Opens up the passageways
- Helps to stop the decrease in airway flow, making breathing easier
- Relieves nasal pressure
- Relieves congestion and mucus
- Manage pain
- Induces calmness and sleep
Medical Research on CBD
According to The Journal of Allergy and Immunology, the stimulation of the CB1 receptor may be useful in controlling allergies as well as rashes and eczema! This is due to the CB1 receptor being largely linked to mast cell activity.
An animal study published in 2013 showed the effects of CBD on the reduction of inflamed airways in guinea pigs with a food allergy. During the investigation, the guinea pigs were administered with raw egg whites which led to a trigger in mast cells and an increase in histamines. CBD was able to reduce airway obstruction and relax muscle tone, suggesting it to be a beneficial treatment for airway reactions in food sensitivities as well as other obstructive airway disorders.
It is from studies such as these that CBD has been proven to be an effective treatment for allergy-induced conditions such as Asthma and COPD!
CBD may also be beneficial in skin allergies due to its immunosuppressant properties, as the cannabinoid shows potential in reducing rashes and itchiness. A 2013 study showed that CBD was effective for preventing inflammation and edema in the skin, making it a promising anti-inflammatory treatment for skin conditions that result from allergic reactions!
Final Thoughts on CBD For The Relief Of Allergy Symptoms
There isn’t much that CBD can’t do for us, whether you use it for general health upkeep, to treat a debilitating condition or seasonally to prevent aggravating allergic reactions! The science behind this humble compound all points towards an all-natural therapy that can relieve you of some of the most common allergic side-effects.
When we consider the way CBD can control mast cells and histamine release throughout the body, it makes it clear that the cannabinoid could play a hand in almost all allergies! If you are a sufferer from any of the following, we suggest CBD to see if it works for you:
- Hay fever
- Dust allergy
- Asthma (the type triggered by an allergy)
- Pet allergy
As the summer months roll in, there will be a rise in the sale of over-the-counter and prescription allergy medications. Why not try CBD to see if you can benefit and reduce discomfort with fewer side effects?
Did you know that allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S? Find out how CBD is becoming a top option for standard allergies.
CBD For Allergies: Can Hemp Oil Help Relieve Allergy Symptoms?
Allergies manifest as adverse reactions of an overactive immune system that do not occur in healthy people. Symptoms of allergies range from sniffling, sneezing to watery eyes, itchy throat, wheezing, and asthma.
According to statistics, allergies are the sixth main cause of chronic illnesses in the United States, affecting roughly 19.9 million adults, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CBD is a plant-based compound unique to the Cannabis sativa L. family. Cannabis plants contain over 400 phytochemicals on top of CBD, so it goes without saying that at least one of these compounds can trigger allergies.
While the research into allergic reactions to products like CBD oil is scarce, the cannabis plant itself has been associated with allergies.
In today’s article, we’ll cover the topic of potential allergies to CBD oil; what may trigger them; what researchers are saying, and whether full-spectrum CBD oil can cause a person to experience typical allergy symptoms.
What You Need to Know About Allergies (Causes, Symptoms & Statistics)
Over 50% of the U.S. population suffers from allergies to at least one thing. Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is the most common type of allergy, affecting up to 30% of American adults and 40% of children.
There’s no cure for allergies, they can be effectively managed with the right diet, supplementation, and certain lifestyle changes. Of course, people with allergies should also avoid triggers.
Some allergies are milder than others, but there are people for whom this condition is a severe problem that requires an individual approach.
As mentioned, the symptoms of allergies include sneezing, itching, droopy eyes, a runny nose, and sometimes problems with breathing.
Allergies are triggered by a compromised immune system. The immune system controls allergic reactions; when it functions normally, it can distinguish from harmful and safe compounds to eliminate potential dangers. However, when the communication between its cells is disturbed, the immune system starts to identify normal substances as potential threats — releasing antibodies to attack them.
People with allergies produce antibodies every time they get exposed to the allergen.
The main antibody responsible for allergic reactions is histamine. The antihistamine medications are formulated to prevent antibodies from damaging the immune system. Popular antihistamine drugs include Claritin, which is available without a prescription.
Food allergies are more challenging to treat. The immune system attacks proteins in the food, causing serious symptoms such as anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis can be fatal if left without immediate aid. People with allergies usually carry special pens infused with epinephrine to stop an anaphylactic attack.
A 2009 study published in the journal Immunobiology found that cannabinoids such as CBD and THC could trigger immunosuppressive processes in an overactive immune system (1). According to the authors, these compounds may block the reactions of the immune system against the “hostile” molecules.
Does CBD Oil Help with Allergies?
Although the research into the health benefits of CBD oil for allergies is limited, multiple studies have highlighted its anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant properties. Inflammation is the underlying cause of allergic reactions.
A 2011 research report published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine analyzed the potential benefits of CBD for different inflammatory disorders (2). George W. Booz, the leading researcher and a professor in the department of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, summarized them in the following way:
“Inflammation and oxidative stress are intimately involved in the genesis of many human diseases. Unraveling that relationship therapeutically has proven challenging, in part because inflammation and oxidative stress feed off each other. However, CBD would seem to be a promising starting point for further development given its antioxidant (although relatively modest) and anti-inflammatory actions on immune cells.”
The authors concluded there’s no clinical evidence to support the theory that CBD oil relieves allergic reactions, so while some studies suggest anti-inflammatory effects exist (and they’re potent), we need more long-term clinical trials to officially support the use of CBD for allergies.
Should You Vape CBD Oil for Allergies?
CBD vapes, such as vape pens, offer the highest bioavailability of all available products. Up to 56% of the vaporized CBD ends up in your system according to various studies. However, CBD vapes often contain other compounds aside from cannabidiol, including thinners such as propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin.
The problem with propylene glycol is that it breaks down into dangerous aldehydes when heated, which can further irritate the lungs. If your allergic reactions include coughing, wheezing, or asthma attacks, CBD vape oil can do more harm than good. Some studies have found that smoking cannabis improves the lung function and capacity of asthma sufferers, but they analyzed the efficacy of medical marijuana, which contains both THC and CBD in different ratios — not to mention that the researchers used cannabis flowers, not vape oil.
How to Use CBD Oil for Allergies
CBD oil is the product of choice for many first-time users. It contains a hemp extract suspended in a carrier oil to provide higher bioavailability. CBD oils are packed in 30-ml glass bottles with droppers attached to them for precise dosing.
People take CBD oil to prevent allergies as well as to fight their symptoms. That’s because this form of consumption offers a relatively fast onset of effects — around 15-30 minutes after ingestion — with a long duration time, up to 6 hours.
CBD oil is taken under the tongue. The user needs to squeeze out the desired amount of oil using the dropper, place a few drops under the tongue, and hold it there for up to 60 seconds. This route of administration allows the CBD to absorb into the bloodstream through hundreds of tiny blood vessels in the mouth. Since most of the ingested oil avoids the digestive system, it doesn’t lose potency as much as CBD capsules or edibles.
Speaking of which, oral CBD products are a great alternative for those who would like to have a premeasured dose of CBD with each serving, as well as for people living busy lifestyles. CBD capsules and edibles mask the earthy flavor of hemp extracts, which makes them more enjoyable. The effects of CBD also last longer — up to 10 hours — despite a delayed onset. When you take a CBD capsule or gummy, they need to be processed by the digestive system, so it may take up to 2 hours until you can experience the effects.
CBD oil is a better pick if you need to quickly ease your symptoms and gauge your dose more accurately. On the other hand, capsules and edibles are better to kickstart the day and bolster your immune system against the triggers.
Can You Be Allergic to CBD Oil?
An allergy to cannabis isn’t just a poor excuse for having red eyes during your adolescent times — it’s a real thing.
So, the answer is: yes, you can be allergic to CBD. Eating, touching, or inhaling cannabis plants can trigger allergic reactions as a result of contact with pollen. Inhaling that pollen may lead to hay fever.
A 2018 study found that people with allergies to plants, dust mites, cat dander, and mold, have a higher risk of developing an allergy to cannabis (3). However, no other study has yet investigated this subject as of this writing. More quality research is needed to establish a firm connection between cannabis and allergic reactions.
Considering the risk of allergies from pollen or mold, you should be particularly careful when choosing CBD products; purchase only from companies who use organically grown hemp and test their CBD oils in third-party laboratories for potency and potential contaminants. The latter may trigger an allergy to CBD oil that may not result from CBD per se.
Possible Allergic Reactions to CBD Oil
As mentioned earlier, an allergy to CBD can manifest in many different ways. Two people may experience completely different symptoms, so it can be difficult to tell the difference between a CBD allergy and the mild side effects of CBD.
Potential adverse reactions to CBD oil include dry mouth, changes in appetite, dizziness, fatigue, and diarrhea. These aren’t the symptoms of an allergic reaction to CBD. Fortunately, the majority of these effects are nearly nonexistent in regular doses.
Here are a few possible signs of a CBD allergy:
- Skin irritations: when you use a CBD topical, you may notice hives or a rash as the symptoms of your allergy to CBD. However, these reactions may be caused by one of the many ingredients in creams and other skincare products, so make sure to scan the list of ingredients thoroughly.
- Dry, itchy, or red eyes: this symptom is commonly associated with cannabis users — it results from inhaling THC — but some people might experience droopy, red eyes after taking CBD oil. If you have this kind of reaction, it might be a sign that you’re allergic to CBD.
- Migraines: While a slight headache might occur after taking a higher dose of CBD, migraines are a severe reaction that can indicate an allergy to some of the ingredients in CBD oil.
- Breathing difficulty: If you experience difficulty breathing, seek immediate help. This is most likely the side effect of poor-quality products that contain mold or hazardous additives.
People with plant allergies are advised to try CBD isolate instead of full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD. The latter is made using the entire plant, meaning they contain cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, essential oils, and plant waxes. Such products carry a higher risk of triggering an allergic reaction.
You can try a few different CBD products — full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate — to find out which form of CBD works without any adverse reactions. We also encourage you to check with a doctor for medical advice on what to do when you start experiencing the symptoms.
Studies on Allergic Reactions to CBD Oil
- A study conducted by the Duke University School of Medicine found that about 20% of the 100 people they tested had allergic reactions to linalool, while 8% were allergic to limonene. These are the two most commonly found terpenes in full-spectrum CBD oils (4).
- Doctors from the University of California, San Diego, published a letter entitled “Marijuana and stoned fruit” in the Annals of Allergies and Asthma, where they reported a 24-year-old male marijuana daily user experienced an anaphylactic reaction after eating yogurt with hemp seeds (5).
- In a 2013 study published in the Internal Archives of Allergy and Immunology, 21 patients with food allergies were tested in terms of reactivity to cannabis lipid transfer proteins (LTP), which are potential allergens (6). Twelve participants showed signs of allergies to cannabis, and all 12 had severe symptoms of food allergy than those without an allergy to the plant.
CBD & Allergies: Bottom Line
Although researchers have yet to fully understand the link between CBD and allergies, some studies have reported that the cannabinoid has remarkable anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation lies at the roots of all allergies, so while CBD won’t cure them, preliminary research and anecdotal reports indicate that CBD oil may be able to help ease the symptoms.
That is, of course, if you aren’t allergic to cannabis. CBD itself may not be an allergen, but in combination with the remaining 400 phytochemicals from cannabis, it can trigger an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, sniffling, or red, droopy eyes. Allergies may also be caused by other ingredients in CBD oil, such as synthetic additives.
If you want to reduce the risk of experiencing an allergy to CBD, it’s best to purchase from a trustworthy company that sells high-quality lab-tested products. Always make sure to check for third-party lab reports — or Certificates of Analysis (COA) — to check if the product is free of contaminants, solvents, or plant residue. Spending some extra time on research will save you money on CBD oil.
As the number of CBD users grows, researchers will be able to collect more information about potential allergic reactions and how CBD oil can mitigate their impact on our health.
Do you take CBD for allergies? Or do you know someone who is allergic to CBD oil?
Allergies manifests as a defensive reaction of an overactive immune system. People can be allergic to food, pollen, animals, dust, and more. CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties — but should you take it for allergies?